Ever wish you could dynamically update the background image of your desktop? Here is a perl script that takes an existing background, finds out the current stock/index prices, and adds the prices to the image. Just put it in your crontab. You could just as easily put ping response times for various servers on your background as well. Some programs you will need:
Note that get-quote and ImageMagick support many different platforms. Certainly perl runs on most everything, so you can use the script above to modify the background image of the desktop for many different operating systems. I used Xearth to generate the background and call Eterm with the –shade 80 for the correct shading. Here is a screenshot of my desktop with all of the above in place.